When an email hits your inbox or a customer calls interested in your company’s services, responding quickly is surely a priority. However, giving into the urge to respond too frequently without sufficient regard for the quality of the information, may leave you frustrated by lack of customer response. Speed is not everything. The customer’s perceived value of the information is just as important. How do you accomplish both?
Step 1 – Do your homework on your customers (outlined in my last post).
Become an expert on critical information including your customers’ strategic plans, challenges, their competitors, backgrounds of key contacts and how they make decisions. This will lead you to what information will be valued by the customer.
Step 2 – Work ahead so you can provide valuable information rapidly
We all have had days where there are many customers to respond to in a short period of time, leaving us scrambling to respond. In reflecting on those days, I realized that easily 80% of the information the customer needs has already been developed for other customers. Why not take some time to organize so those documents are easily accessible and with minimal customization can communicate your value?
Some initial questions will help you think ahead:
- What information do you know from experience you will need frequently for customers?
- What documents will you likely need to have ready? Here are some ideas:
- Company Overview
- Solutions offered
- Case Studies
- Summary of value your company provides for customers
- Estimated pricing (based on experience)
- What does your organization have ready?
- What do you need to develop?
- How often are you communicating with customers via phone or in person? A document you are reviewing with a customer via phone has to “speak for itself” more than one you present in person. This impacts document content.
If, for example, your organization does not have information on Case Studies readily available, the following provides some ideas on information you can gather.
Why it is worth investing time in this effort
Whether you are a veteran sales representative or early in your career, I am confident that combining your effort to be an “expert” on your customers with organizing frequently needed content will help you drive more business.
In a recent role, most of the people I was contacting were all over the US. Since it was not likely they would travel to my facility, I had to find another way to give them a “tour”. This was critical for communicating the value my organization could provide and had to be done in a way that I where I could manage the conversation. I took a series of pictures on my cell phone (in the same sequence as a walking tour) and developed a brief set of slides. While I modified the slides for specific conversations I was leading, the core slides were used every week.
The key to developing this kind of presentation is to start by visualizing the process you want the customer to walk thru. More on presentations that communicate value in upcoming posts.